Megan movie review (M3GAN) | A doll possessed by human hands!

the movie Megan, connects the familiar skepticism of the science fiction genre towards the dominance of technology over human life to the haunted doll model of the horror genre; But it’s easier to have fun with it as a relatively well-made comedy!

Megan In fact, it is not a scary movie. Of course; If you search its name on Google, you will come across the word Horror to describe the genre of the movie. After all, we are talking about a work that has moments based on the suspense of an unpleasant incident, relatively explicit violence (with a lot of emphasis on the adverb “relatively”!), or clichéd jump scares. And well – compliments should be left aside – the stone face, voice and tone of speech, and body movements of the doll of the same name with the film, despite the apparent defamiliarization of the disorderliness of the previous examples of the genre, are still annoying and awkward! But if you are a fan of the movies Summons (The Conjuring) Or Annabelle (Annabelle) be and Megan Hoping for another jaw-dropping viewing experience, Gerard Johnston’s second feature film will disappoint!

If you are a fan of movies Summons Or Annabelle be and Megan Hoping for another jaw-dropping viewing experience, Gerard Johnston’s second feature film will disappoint.

So Megan what kind of movie is it A mix of comedy/horror can’t be a bad description. This is the combination that Johnston has shown to be capable of creating. His first film is Locked in the house (Housebound) was also a comedy/horror. The difference is that the PG-13 rating doesn’t limit itself to unbridled violence, the tone is much more brash and daring, and the self-aware and playful plot is amusingly clever at subverting genre conventions. Megan But not surprisingly, New Zealand Cinema’s latest Blumhouse/Universal co-production is aimed at a wider audience, and therefore more conservative in style and tone.

But this definition does not make a complete picture of the movie. Megan First of all, it is a work of science fiction. About a fictional and slightly more advanced version of today’s world; In which, robotic toys have a more complex design, and a more prominent role in the lives of their young owners. The main character of the film is a member of the development team of the “Funky” toy company; which produces the popular furry smart dolls. Creatures designed to replace pets; With the advantage that unlike dogs or cats, they will definitely outlive their owners!

Alison Williams, Brian Jordan Alvarez, and Jen Brown stand around a table in a dollhouse in a still from Gerard Johnston's Megan

Since we are dealing with a conventional sci-fi movie, the development team must have thought of the next predictable step very early: why not replace the pets, instead of replacing the humans themselves? And of course, this decision must also end with the inevitable unfortunate result: equipping a doll with intelligence, understanding and characteristics similar to humans is not necessarily the smartest possible decision! Over-ambition is going to twist mankind’s ears once again in the form of the birth of a rebellious creature, and remind him of the valuable lesson that humans, with all their flaws and faults, have a value and a place beyond replicated artifacts; All they have to do is try to be a better version of themselves!

The details of the film’s story will be revealed later

Gemma (Allison Williams) must learn this lesson. The main character of the film, and the creator of Megan; The super-intelligent doll of the story. Plot’s inciting incident involves Gemma’s little niece, Kiddie (Violet McGrath); And now she must find time to spend with a lonely little girl between the insistence of the company’s higher-ups on designing a new, cheaper version of the furry doll, and her own efforts to end Megan’s production. The harrowing initial situations in Gemma’s house, the set design of the house’s soulless, modern interior, the relative visual focus on cold colors, and the character’s utter inability to relate to the girl (thanks to the right tone of Alison Williams’ acting) all make a clear point. : Gemma is by no means ready for this new role.

Since we are dealing with a story-telling film, what I wrote should be enough to outline the dramatic course of the film. Gemma’s professional desire to produce Megan conflicts with her need to mother Kady; And this leads to a relatively organic turning point: Megan’s birth makes up for Gemma’s inability to handle Kiddy, and Kiddy, on the other hand, gets permission from the company’s board to build her as a living document of Megan’s successful application. The separate parts of Akla Cooper’s screenplay are well tied together to advance the film’s narrative, and the cause and effect course of events has a correct logic. But in the meantime, something is not working right…

Allison Williams in a black dress standing in front of a laptop in a scene from the movie Megan directed by Gerard Johnston.

The problem here is that what I mentioned earlier as Gemma’s “need” is actually another side desire for her. or even worse; An obstacle to his original desire. Gemma personally has no desire to raise Kady. This is just a burden that has fallen on him due to a tragic event. Although in the opening of the film we have an implicit reference to Gemma’s gift to Kiddy, we later find out that Gemma was not very warm with her sister’s family and her relationship with her niece did not go beyond the gift of the doll (with a possible professional motive). Gemma doesn’t even spend a few minutes mourning and digesting the terrible tragedy that happened, she quickly accepts it, and as if she doesn’t see any relationship between herself and taking care of the little girl except for the moral responsibility that she has inevitably been subjected to.

As a result, the personal dimension of the story – which is supposed to be highlighted by the initial tragic event and the family relationship of the two characters – is practically devoid of dramatic importance and emotional energy. What the main character cares about is the development of his complex and exciting artificial intelligence; And not related to Kedi. Even as much as it has been mentioned, we don’t dwell on Jemma’s inner state and the way she lives her personal life. Apart from her work, did Gemma have any relationship with other people? Where does Caddy fit in his network? Is the girl’s entry into his life an injection of human warmth into a cold environment? The film and the character are equally indifferent to the answers to these questions. As far as Gemma is concerned, wasting time with Kiddy’s troubles is just another distraction from her achieving her goal (just like the opposition of her superiors). So, at the first opportunity, it will be of professional benefit for Kidi to attend; And then he willingly hands over his duties to Megan. Another version of this text is conceivable in which Gemma is treated with more subtlety, and her self-centeredness takes on a tinge of moral complexity; So that in the end he faces the unpleasant result of his actions, and makes up for his mistakes with a real change. But Johnston’s new creation does not experience such a saturation for a fundamental reason…

Cooper has been careful not to bring Gemma’s “independent and successful woman” image into a critical approach. We are not going to see how the young girl’s preoccupations, and her inability to care for a child, cause irreparable trouble. This could have been the right choice for the film; If the narrative of the film is not tied to the concept of “motherhood” to such an extent. The problem here is that both the initial challenging role of Gemma, and the function that Megan has in Kiddie’s life, and the issue of the confrontation between the protagonist and the antagonist of the story, is the issue of raising a child!

Violet McGraw sits around a dinner table opposite Alison Williams next to a humanoid doll in a still from Gerard Johnston's Megan.

A young person who doesn’t know how to interact with children, technological artifacts that more and more replace the warmth of human communication between parents and children, and the “learning model” of Megan’s brain; which is directly simulated from the way children learn from the surrounding environment… This story is inherently intertwined with a critical view of the ways of raising children in today’s world. If we were to imagine a meaningful character arc for Jemma, we should have reached from the initial absolute incompetence and reluctance to human understanding and empathy at the end. But does the final confrontation of Megan and Gemma, and the hasty conclusion of the narrative, have such a direction?

Because Gemma is not Kiddie’s real mother, the character’s natural need to raise the girl is diminished, and since there is no warm relationship between the two, the cinematic/dramatic version of this need is not formed either.

What is the difference between the scene at the beginning of the movie and the scene at the end? Someone who, despite his initial indifference to concerns about Megan’s role in Kiddie’s life, quickly tried to control her excessive interference in the girl’s upbringing, what new perspective does he gain from confronting Megan and struggling to stop her at the end? Is seeing a promotional teaser, and Jemma’s quick moral conclusion, enough to fundamentally change the character’s view of her duties towards the little girl? Has she changed from a bad mother to a good mother? When the movie did not hold him responsible from the beginning, and except for the initial natural unfamiliarity, it showed him aware of “right behavior” at every stage, can we expect a significant change? And even if there was a transformation, did the character need this transformation?

Because Gemma is not Kiddie’s real mother, the character’s natural need to raise the girl is diminished, and since there is no warm relationship between the two, the cinematic/dramatic version of this need is not formed either. On the other hand, the familiar critical/cynical approach of the genre does not find a new subtlety in relation to this specific story, except for the constant reminder of the danger of dependence on technology. Why is Cady motivated to destroy Megan at the end? The way this contrast is formed – which suddenly brings the work closer to the coordinates of the children’s movie – aside from… What is Kidi’s motivation for not trusting Megan? (Don’t forget that he enters the workshop equipped with the gloves controlling Gemma’s giant robot, Bruce!) In what area did the intelligent robot of the story fail to meet the needs of the girl? Between the end of the second act and the climax of the narrative, what kind of change has Kiddy experienced in the way he looks at his beloved toy?! Will Gemma’s clichéd speech from earlier be enough to get a little girl like Cady, her only friend, through her hardest days?

Rani Ching running down a corridor with red walls in a scene from the film Megan directed by Gerard Johnston.

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But Megan can also be seen from the point of view of the connection with the haunted doll model. Johnston showed interest in this model in his first film. Locked in the house, in a satirical way, it referred to the real story of the Annabelle doll. If in that case an evil spirit had communicated with the residents of a house by introducing itself as the spirit of a seven-year-old girl, through a doll, Locked in the house until the end of his narration, he mentions the spirit of a murdered girl; which tries to convey a message to the residents of an old house through several talking dolls. Just as in that film the pattern used was changed with humor and elegance, in Megan we have an interesting play with two different habits of films centered on the evil doll.

Taking advantage of its science fiction background, Johnston’s new production uses his smart doll as an excuse to pay homage to both dominant models of the haunted doll in cinema history.

Megan is a programmed robot. Like any other robot, it has the task of executing the codes given to it by its intelligent creator. After this angle, Megan finds the function of a mediator. A bridge that brings the programmer’s instructions to actions in the real world. From this point of view, Gemma and Megan’s relationship is a repetition of Annabelle’s pattern. Because Annabelle is a doll that has no authority of her own and is merely a conduit for the mischief of an evil spirit. If we liken Megan to a possessed doll, Gemma is in the position of an evil spirit! In this way, the reason for Megan’s wickedness and violence (as she herself reminds Gemma at the end) is the presence of similar qualities in her creator. This is an interesting thematic mischief that Cooper has considered in writing the script.

But on the other hand, with Megan equipped with a human-like learning model, as well as her autonomous ability to move, make decisions, and interact with her surroundings as an advanced robot, her murders resemble Chucky’s in the movies. child’s play (Child’s Play) (Megan’s damaged appearance in the final battle also makes a more obvious reference to the killer doll from the genre’s popular series). As a result, Johnston’s new production, taking advantage of its science fiction background, makes its smart doll an excuse to pay homage to both dominant models of the haunted doll in cinema history.

None of these structural, thematic and metatext discussions are necessary to enjoy the movie! Thanks to the energy of Gerard Johnston’s visual style, his believable ability to set the tone of scenes, the appropriate rhythm of Akella Cooper’s script, and the good music of Anthony Willis (as well as the energetic pieces selected for the film’s interesting montages), Megan manages to be an engaging cinematic experience despite its scattered comic situations. to make As a result, we can see various moments of Megan’s presence, her over-dressed appearance, nervous responses, and her violent hunts (with references to Kubrick’s The Shining and pulse Loved Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s (Pulse) regardless of the overall value of the film. Although it seems difficult to take the horror suspense of the film seriously in such circumstances, it is not too difficult to surrender yourself to the experience of watching the film. Because Megan is a really fun movie!

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